DIY Outdoor Patio Shade

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One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is sit on my back porch with a cup of coffee and check out the coupon inserts read the paper.  It is so relaxing and peaceful.  But this time of year we run into a slight annoyance, the sun!

For a specific time period in the morning, the sun pierces between the neighbors roof and our patio roof.  It is very strong and usually requires sun glasses.  My husband, the vampire, will burn in like 5 minutes, so he won’t even come out there with me till it has risen more.  Some may say, “and that’s a problem because…….?” LOL  But seriously, I enjoy our time together, so I knew it was time to solve the problem.  I priced the shades at the local hardware store and $80+ was not in the budget for a non necessity.  So onto a DIY Outdoor Patio Shade.

Last year I picked up several grass beach mats on clearance at Walmart for under $1 each.  I took the mats to the local craft store with intent to find some pretty ribbon and some how figure out how to attach them together. I found some pretty burgundy ribbon and my calculations showed I’d need 4 rolls at a cost of $3.97 per roll.  EKK!  Cause you know being an FSU Alumni, this color appeals to me!  I walked around with the ribbon in my cart and I brainstormed an idea of how to attached them together, then I spotted this display!

Yup, you guessed it, that’s decorative duct tape!  I picked up a roll that almost matched the ribbon and starting thinking, WOW this would be awesome, and frugal!  And solve my dilemma of how I was going to attach them.   Not to mention I’d only need one roll.  If you can see in the picture they have all sorts of colors, patterns and even sheets of duct tape.  If they had the matching color in a sheet I would have gotten one and cut out a monogram for the mats.

So I took my roll of duct tape and my 40% off coupon to the register.  Where I paid about $3 for the duct tape and a few extra dollars for some wooden dowels to secure to the bottom for some weight.  I got home and laid out the mats and dowels.

I duct taped each mat together and then added tape on the sides for decoration.  I rolled up the bottom a little and taped on the back and inserted dowels.  I ran to the local home improvment store to look for something to hang it with.  I found a few flower hooks and then I purchased a long piece of PVC that would fit in the hooks.  I taped the top up and secured the pipe inside.

So what do you think?  Does it look like Duct tape?   Here is another picture of it during the high sun part of the morning.

There are a few things I’d do differently next time.  Because you know you always learn by doing.

1) Maybe use bamboo mats next time.  The grass seams a bit fragile and the wind off our lake is already reeking havoc on it.
2) Come up with a better way to roll the shade up when we don’t need it or a storm is coming.

But for now I’d say under $15 for this project will do!


  1. Julie says

    Love it…we need them in the evening. But it would take lots for my lanai….how did you attatch it to the stucco. That is something my husband would not approved of..drilling into the stucco…I would have to attatch it to the metal where the screens attatch.

    • Karen says

      yes I drilled into the stucco to install the hooks. But it’s under the porch so It shouldn’t get any water inside, if the hook is flush with the stucco. This is obviously just my opinion. Not sure how you’d attach to metal. It would need to be strong enough to hold the weight.

  2. Tina B says

    For rolling up purposes, take a peek at the simplicity of how homemade Roman shades roll up. I bet you can find that on the internet. A friend of mine made her daughter’s bedroom window shades and they rolled up, so if she can, and wasn’t super crafty, I bet you can too. I think your shades look nice and they do the job, too. The price was good, too.

  3. says

    Great minds think alike! I’ve had beach mats hanging from our back porch to protect us from the brutal SW Georgia sunshine for a few years now, but only recently thought of adding duct tape to secure the edges better because they were falling apart whenever the wind blew real hard. I love the way yours look! Great job and thank you so much for sharing this one! <3 Dig <3

  4. Stef says

    It looks nice! Thanks for the note about what you’d do differently – I was going to buy some grass mats. I picked up a roll of fiberglass screen (less than $10). I like the PVC and hooks idea, I think I’ll try that. Anyway, nice job!

  5. blah blah says

    Exactly what I need to do. Live in an apartment with a morning-sun-facing patio that gets blasted for 4 hours. I don’t mind the light. It’s the heat that’s getting into our apartment that’s killing it. The AC bill is outrageous. Sun-blocking curtains will block light, but the heat will still end up in the apartment between the glass and curtains. I’ve been looking for an inexpensive way to make a sun-shade. I don’t mind the 1 hour of early morning sun, but the other 3 hours are just wasting AC.

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